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Book review: Mark James Russell’s “K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution”

There is no doubt that the Philippines is still very much caught up in the crest of hallyu, or the Korean wave.

On television, Korean dramas are shown alongside local primetime fare, with its stars commanding a fanbase as — perhaps even more — devoted as those of local stars.

Seeing as most of these South Koreans television stars double as pop stars as well, it’s no surprise that K-Pop (Korean Pop) receives practically the same devotion from Filipino fans. It’s something that Korean music companies seem to be aware of and wish to cultivate, if their stars’ itineraries are anything to go by.

For instance, supergroups like Big Bang and Super Junior have held sold-out concerts here in the country; multiple times in Super Junior’s case. Boy bands like SHINee, EXO, FT Island, and Infinite have held successful shows here. South Korean megastar Rain has filmed scenes for a Korean drama here and held a concert here, and popular girl group 2NE1 — who counts Star Circle Quest alumna Sandara Park as one of its members — is holding a concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena tonight.

But with so many K-Pop starts to keep track of, and with more being produced every day through talent shows like Superstar K, how will people looking to get into this craze manage to catch up?

The answer might be Tuttle Publishing’s 2014 offering “K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution”. Written by journalist Mark James Russell, the book is more than a hundred pages of photos and information on the current lay of the K-Pop land — from boy bands to girl groups and even the solo acts.

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